Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day 2: Budapest

The bend in the beautiful blue Danube River in Budapest.
Margrit Island is in the background.
Day 1: Got a ride to bus pick-up spot, rode bus to airport, sat/slept in airplane to Frankfurt am Main.

Day 2: Connected to flight to Budapest, met travel guide (Karel) and bus driver (Armin), and drove into Budapest. Learned that in this city of nearly 2 million people, it is almost impossible to make a left turn, so we circled around for a while until we were able to cross a bridge to green, hilly Buda, on the left bank of the Danube. This photo was taken from the Citadel, facing north (and Slovakia in the distance). On the right is flat Pest (pronounced Pesht), on the right bank of the Danube (Duna in Hungarian).

The capital of Hungary is a pretty typically big, central-European city with old and new buildings. Some of both are ugly (either the result of neglect under Communism or questionable architectural style later), while others are quite nice to look at (like the Parliament building). Alexandre Gustave Eiffel designed its train station, which was just down the street from our hotel.

After checking in, showering/changing, grabbing a slooow bite to eat from the restaurant next door, getting the local currency (Hungarian forints, HUF), retrieving hats and cameras, and buying tram tickets from the concierge--a bunch of us set off to view the Roman ruins and museum at Aquicum in Obuda, twenty minutes north of the city center. That's the subject of the next trip post. At dinner at the hotel that night, two musicians serenaded us on violin and cymbalum. This gentleman sang for us, and once he figured out we were a singing group, the two of them played songs for us to sing along to. "If I were a rich man" from Fiddler on the Roof was probably the hit of the night. Having traveled for a day and then spent the afternoon in the hot sun, we went to bed exhausted but excited that night.

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